Monday, April 2, 2018

April 2nd Links

  • This week is the fifteenth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War, an illegal intervention that continues to immiserate millions. The war is a moral wrong and a criminal act, which condemned the war and its proponents long before the first munitions claimed their first victims. By the time the consequences of the war unfolded, they should have been damned irrevocably. The hideous fruits of the Iraq War – the human suffering, the interminable and metastasizing violence, the wanton squandering of wealth, corruption, outright looting, the hundreds of thousands or more Iraqi and over 4800 coalition dead before the initial 2011 withdrawal – are not the product of some unforeseen twist of fate. They fell well within the predictions and warnings of its opponents, offered openly at the time. [link]
  • "We have incurred net losses in each year since we were formed, including net losses of $282.7 million, $232.9 million and $163.5 million for fiscal 2016, fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018, respectively. As of February 2, 2018, we had an accumulated deficit of $1,142.6 million and our net cash used in operating activities was $116.5 million in fiscal 2018. We may not achieve sufficient revenue to attain and maintain profitability." [EDGAR]
  • Pivotal has no future. The products are not sustainable. If you had to start a new company today, would you decide to use the fake "open source" bloated, octopus-dependency, poorly maintained Pivotal platform they try to charge $5 million to $50 million for, or just use stable industry-standard solutions already out there? [Matt]
  • Say you want to make money without the responsibility of creating working products. A good way to start is by founding a software company. Software frauds give you deniability. Software is generally considered so complex it's basically treated as an "unknowable" quantity. You can't be blamed for your failures because everything is just so gosh darn hard. [Matt]
  • In Craven's 4th and final paper, published less than a year before his death, he updated his trial of aspirin as a prophylactic against coronary thrombosis. His final count was 8,000 patients who had taken aspirin daily, 9 of whom had died of what appeared to be "heart attacks." Autopsies were performed on all 9 patients who died, and the cause of death proved to be ruptured aortic aneurysm rather than coronary thrombosis. Once again, these observations were presented with the caveat that they were not obtained under controlled conditions. This 1956 paper conveyed another significant observation: aspirin might also prevent "little strokes" (or transient ischemic attacks): no patient had experienced stroke. [NLM]
  • "Right now, you're serfs. You're well-paid serfs, but you're serfs. They've debased your currency, and so you're continuing to underwrite debt for sovereign governments at zero interest rates, so you're always on the spinning wheel like a little hamster, trying to get ahead," [Heartiste]
  • I continue to be amazed in the present era where you compare the confidence and self-assurance of the self-appointed ruling class on television with the results they are getting. You'd think that with their societies crumbling around them on a daily basis, they might be humbled and start to wonder if the direction they are urging us all in is actually working. It is their special gift to be nearly impervious to feedback. No matter what happens they continue to blame the problem squarely on the existing limitations on government power (which are increasingly non-existent) and believe with religious style zeal that the earthly paradise is always just one more emergency legislation session away. Only a temporary extension of State power, you see... until the "crisis" passes. Except every week there seems to be a new "crisis." [link]
  • Most Alaska Marine Highway System vessels are built for multiple-day voyages due to the large distances between ports. For example, it takes just under three days to travel from Bellingham to Skagway, and 18 hours for the Sitka to Juneau "milk run". Because of this, larger vessels (MV Tustumena and larger) come with staterooms, while all mainline vessels have solariums, showers, and lounges for sleeping. Hot food services and, on the MV Columbia, a sit-down restaurant are also offered. [Wiki]
  • MV Lituya is a shuttle ferry for the Alaska Marine Highway System. Lituya was built by Conrad Shipyards in Morgan City, Louisiana in 2004. The Lituya is the smallest vessel in the ferry system and, as of 2006 exclusively serving the 16.5-nautical-mile (30.6 km) Metlakatla–Ketchikan shuttle route. [Wiki]
  • "I feel like what we keep in our minds is more important," he wrote to me over WhatsApp recently. "The accuracy of it is... mah." This is his disdain for this digital accuracy, and it captures something. There's an obvious, almost legalistic veracity of moment-to-moment logging, but that loses a truth that the impressionism of memory catches better. I didn't fall in love with him word by word or sentence by sentence. I fell in love with him slowly and steadily through time, in the spaces between the words, held up by the words. Losing the words sometimes feels frustrating, but that forgetting also removes the scaffolding from a finished past—a past that was never really containable in a logfile. [link]
  • In the case of birds, the result is particularly delightful: one clade of dinosaurs escaped extinction at the end of the cretaceous period, and at our present position in "the age of mammals," living dinosaur species outnumber the extant mammal species by more than two to one. [link]
  • The most involved whisky experience available. After meeting at the distillery to put on your wellies (provided), this experience will start with a walk to the water source for Laphroaig where you will enjoy a picnic lunch with a dram of Laphroaig cut, if you wish, with the source water. A short drive will then take you to the peat banks where you will be challenged to cut some peat by hand before being awarded your next dram. Back at the distillery the malt on the floor will need turned and the fire stoked before visiting the rest of the distillery. In warehouse 1 the whisky will be waiting! Taste from a selection of casks before using a valinch to bottle your favourite. This experience is guided by a Laphroaig Host who will share Laphroaig stories and secrets along the way. This experience will last around 4.5 hours. [link]
  • The whole moral of any type of story like this is that it pays to listen to what old timers have to say, and it also pays to examine their lives and to model the parts that make them successful, not just in business but in life. As a young kid thrown into the pits, I sought out and asked for advice from the grizzled old guys who started trading as early as the late 1920s - early 1930s (there were still a few of them around). I also learned to ignore the advice of real old clerks, etc. (There was a reason they were old clerks). It was and is my contention that if someone is a speculator for 40+ years, no matter what, he's a success if he's still in the game. They had seen it all and done it all, and I will say that taking some of advice is the difference between a 2 year speculation career and a 40 year career. Rich or poor, or in between, a 40 year veteran is going to have a superb defensive game, and a strong defense is more important to longevity than a great offense (in my opinion). [Niederhoffer]
  • One of the things you will find, which is interesting and people don't think of it enough, with most businesses and with most individuals, life tends to snap you at your weakest link. So it isn't the strongest link you're looking for among the individuals in the room. It isn't even the average strength of the chain. It's the weakest link that causes the problem. It may be alcohol, it may be gambling, it may be a lot of things, it may be nothing, which is terrific. But it is a real weakest link problem. When I look at our managers, I'm not trying to look at the guy who wakes up at night and says "E = MC 2" or something. I am looking for people that function very, very well. And that means not having any weak links. The two biggest weak links in my experience: I've seen more people fail because of liquor and leverage – leverage being borrowed money. Donald Trump failed because of leverage. He simply got infatuated with how much money he could borrow, and he did not give enough thought to how much money he could pay back. [CoBF]
  • Successfully predicting that something will become a big hit seems impressive. Managers and entrepreneurs who have made successful predictions and have invested money on this basis are promoted, become rich, and may end up on the cover of business magazines. In this paper, we show that an accurate prediction about such an extreme event, e.g., a big hit, may in fact be an indication of poor rather than good forecasting ability. We first demonstrate how this conclusion can be derived from a formal model of forecasting. We then illustrate that the basic result is consistent with data from two lab experiments as well as field data on professional forecasts from the Wall Street Journal Survey of Economic Forecasts. [SSRN]
  • "The major problem with caffeine is it promotes a surge release of noradrenaline (brain version of adrenaline) which gives a burst of energy. However, this surge DEPLETES its precursor, L-phenylalanine, thus promoting the eventual crash or letdown. A superior and healthier way to optimize caffeine intake than the "cycling" suggested by this article is to provide the brain with the raw materials it needs to make noradrenaline (L-phenylalanine, Taurine, Glycine, some vitamins & minerals) along with the caffeine for sustained energy levels throughout the day." [link]
  • But even as a boy, he was aware of the miasma of falsehood that surrounded him in Cold War Czechoslovakia, and it spurred his respect for facts. "I'm the creation of the communist state," he says, recalling how, as a child, he heard that the Soviet Union had increased production of passenger cars by 1000% in a single year. "I looked at it and said, 'Yeah, but you started from nothing.'" Officials would claim they had exceeded their food plan, yet oranges were never available. "It was so unreal and fake," Smil says. "They taught me to respect reality. I just don't stand for any nonsense." [link]
  • The majority allows the Gayes to accomplish what no one has before: copyright a musical style. "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up" are not objectively similar. They differ in melody, harmony, and rhythm. Yet by refusing to compare the two works, the majority establishes a dangerous precedent that strikes a devastating blow to future musicians and composers everywhere. [link]
  • Few monogamists have been as genetically reproductive as he, and none more musically productive. In addition to fathering twenty children, he brought into the world more than a thousand works (some of them massive things like the Art of Fugue and St. Matthew Passion) with hundreds presumed lost. [link]
  • Sessions exploits this uncorrected flaw. Under the law, 6.6 pounds of pure methamphetamine makes you eligible for the death penalty. See 18 U.S.C. 3591(b)(1). This does not mean a one-time deal of 6.6 pounds. It means over the course of time a person deals 6.6 pounds. Decades ago, 6.6 pounds of pure meth made you a kingpin. Today, 6.6 pounds of pure meth makes you a low to mid-level dealer. Sessions exploited a flaw to leverage the death penalty against low to mid-level dealers. The result will be either execution, or, more likely, a significant amount of persons pleading guilty to the mandatory minimum of ten years in exchange for their life. These persons are drug addicts, not kingpins. No civilized society would execute them, let alone leverage the threat of execution to incarcerate them longer. [link]
  • March in Nebraska's Platte River valley, when more than 80 percent of the world's sandhill cranes, more than 550,000 in all, congregate in the area. [NY Times]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Iraq war, I think it’s safe to say that Dubya and Co. acted exactly as the 9/11 terrorists hoped he would. We turned a one-day tragedy into a 16 year (and counting) war that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, trillions of dollars, and the sacrifice of some of our freedoms. And for what...does anyone really think the terrorist threat is lower now than it was on 9/12/01?

Terrorists 1
Dubya 0

Pass the freedom fries please